Zambia is on course to get its fourth mobile operator with Beeline Telecom to launch commercial LTE-based services by the end of January 2023.
Beeline's entry into the Zambian market has been confirmed by The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA).
Beeline was granted an operating license in February 2021 and had been set to launch commercial services in June of this year but encountered problems due to Covid-19 related issues, notes Broadcast Media Africa.
“We granted an extension because the company was unable to commence operations due to challenges with the procurement process owing to Covid-19. But now the company will launch operations on January 31, 2023," said Banji Michelo, ZICTA’s Manager of Legal and Regulatory Affairs.
According to BMC, Beeline has pledged to invest $400 million and create up to 450 jobs once it kicks off its services in Zambia.
Beeline's entrance into the Zambian market provides additional competition for the existing three players, Airtel, MTN, and Zamtel. Airtel with 42 percent market share, followed by MTN with 39 percent, represents the vast majority of the market, with Zamtel accounting for the 19 percent left over.
The new telco is expected to deploy 4G and 5G services, says ZICTA. MTN recently launched its 5G services in Zambia, becoming the first operator in the country to do so.